Monday, July 18, 2011

What the. . . ?

(Since posting this many a nice comment. If you'd like to visit the site where Enee is for sale click here.)


So what's going on. It's been a few days. . .

Our reinsertion into the cruising life after nearly 2 years in Chicago has not been a smooth one. So many repairs and upgrades as has been reported here. Then there's this. . .

When we began this adventure I was D O N E teaching. We were D O N E living in Des Plaines, IL. We sold everything and from there everything was an adventure. Daughter was in college anyway and we were up for the huge change in lifestyle and LOVED it. We were somewhere else every few days. Then after just under 2 years being back in Chicago, Sue teaching again, both of us being grandparents to a wonderful little girl the return to the boat seemed. . .

isolating.

We were working our butts off trying to get north as planned and the hurricane clock was ticking while the whole time discovering that underneath it all we were simply homesick.

It happens.

The cruising life with limited funds is a hard, solitary life. There are great moments and I love the early morning with that first cup of coffee. I love the actual sailing and passage making. There are friends and fellow cruisers but all the family stuff is so far away. Communication is not what you've gotten used to. Video chat doesn't work and there are no real hugs involved anyway.

In short. . . I think we are done and in fact we're in Chicago right now.

We did push the boat to Bequia and we like it there ok. We had a nice weather window to go north to St. Johns but had lost the will to do so. Can't stay in Bequia for hurricane season so . . . back to Grenada! And a great sail that was! We left Bequia at 5 pm, set sail, no motor, and sailed through the night on a nice beam reach with gentle quartering seas making 5-6 knots under a nearly full moon. If that's the last sail, it was maybe the best one ever on Enee Marie.

We have many interesting plans to move on for our next Chicago life involving education, little kids, and writing projects. LOTS to explore in Chicago. We were sad to leave Enee but she is in good hands in the water in Grenada. We're a little sad at either end of our spectrum. This end is better for us.

We're proud to have pushed a boat from Chicago to Grenada and so many points in between. We'll always have that. Thanks to all our readers. We truly loved the random comments that came in on occasion. I may return to Enee to move her to St. Martin at the end of hurricane season to be nearer a broker we may work with. Crew positions may be available!

THE END

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grendad - Carricou - Bequia



Finally found internet again so this is a long one. Sit back, get a coffee (or beer) and enjoy.





Back to Passage Making

Yes. . . finally got out of Dodge (Prickly Bay, Grenada). In the morning we listened to the Caribbean weather Center (Chris Parker) and heard of yet another tropical wave entering the Caribbean over the weekend. Perhaps arriving late on Friday. Now, once upon a time we thought we had a day to work with and waited to sail to Luperon, DR and got the crap beat out of us because the nasty business arrived a day early. From then on we want a day buffer.

So, Plan A was to take care of boat stuff on Thursday, anchor out in the outer part of the bay and then sail before first light making for Bequia - about 70 miles. We no longer think that Friday is a day to mess around with. Rats! So, Plan B: We still do our boat things and then take off for Carriacou which is half way to Bequia. We can weather the coming wave there and then press on on Sunday or Monday. Jobs to be done are to purge our water tanks and buy fresh. Our water has been just a little cloudy. Probably didn’t do a good job on that when we were in the yard. Other job is to calibrate auto-pilot (here after referred to as Otto) which we can do in a calm place while underway.

We tied up at Prickly Bay Marina and started purging tanks. Do you know how long it takes to pump more than 100 gallons of water out? Well it takes a while. You know what else? It take awhile to put it all back in again too! I was filling the second tank listening for the tell tale rise in pitch as the water comes up the fill pipe when Sue came back to the boat with ice, beer and other goodies. She goes below. . . ‘STOP, STOP, STOP! THERE’S WATER SHOOTING OUT OF THE TANK! I never received the increase in pitch message so water, being water, was finding another way out of that tank - through some tiny holes in the top making it a little water fountain! Good thing Sue got back when she did or some idiot would still be sitting there until his whole boat was full of water!

Once around the south west corner of Grenada we head in a little toward St. Georges to find calmer water to calibrate Otto. This requires us to drive in a slow circle a couple of times while Otto teaches himself directions. Should take 2 turns. After 4 laps (and we’re burning daylight) we give up and raise the sails. Otto is a problem for another day. Rats. Really looking forward to using Otto as this sail to the north east is sure to be a motoring day.

So full sail and we are on it! Our new sail is awesome. We’re making 5.5 - 6 knots in a little wind on the beam and Enee is much more manageable. Money well spent. . this time. Once we get to the high hills of Grenada we lose that breeze and are back to motor and main. As we make this little trip we discuss what might be wrong with Otto. Then it hits me. I mounted the compass under the port settee just aft of the most aft drawer. Lots of room there and nothing electrical around. No, nothing electrical but then there’s the emergency tiller pipes laying under the drawers which are made of STEEL! And not stainless either. While off watch Sue removes all the drawers and those pipes. Some one should marry her, I swear!





When we reach Carricou after an uneventful motor & main trip we try the circle trick again and after 2 laps, OTTO PASSES HIS TEST! We now have auto pilot but we’ve already arrived! Well, we’ll certainly use this a lot soon. Time to anchor.

The sea bottom in Carriacou is a mix of grass and big sandy patches. The idea is to drop your hook into a sandy patch. The water is nice and clear and you can see the bottom easily. I dropped in an area where I figured as we drug back it would go into some sandy patches. I let out more and more chain. It would grab and then I could feel the chain vibrate indicating that it was dragging. At some point you have to give up, haul chain and anchor back up and try again. Some of you may remember our trials and tribulations with our old electric windlass which I replaced with a snazzy mechanical one. That was a couple of years ago though. The way this gizmo is supposed to work is ‘double action’ meaning as I lever back and forth I haul on both strokes. It’s time consuming but not too hard actually.

However . . .

This thing has not been operated for a couple of years and, no, I did not test it or do anything to it before we took off and now there’s a problem. It will haul on one stroke and then lay the chain right back where I started on the other stroke! But not always! I find by trial and error if I push forward and then accelerate rapidly backwards it will catch.

Sometimes.

Add to this that after a few pulls the chain peeler broke off. This is a rod that forces the chain off of the gypsy at the back end so that is goes down the hole. Without that the chain will go forward under the gypsy and jam. So there’s that. Finally our solution to the castling problem was to cut a hole in the anchor locker so that I could reach the chain and pull it back, knocking over the castle. That works! But I need to make a short stick with a hook on the end (or sacrifice my right hand and get a hook installed, YARRRRR)because as is I have to lay on the deck to reach through the hole. So here’s me working the lever like a mad man with the accelerated aft motion who then suddenly lays on the deck for not apparent reason to an outside observer and these two events are separated by severe swearing when the chain jams under the gypsy.

I finally get the anchor up and we move to a different and shallower spot. I find a nice big hunk of sand and drop the anchor. But the boat peeled off a little sideways in the wind and drug the anchor into the grass instead of the sand. After dragging way back hoping it would catch I am again the crazy man on the foredeck trying to get the anchor back up. With about 20 feet of chain to go the windlass stops working in both directions. Now it is just a machine that you would use to make your anchor bob up and down about 6 inches. There is nothing for it now but to brace my feet and start hauling chain by hand. My light little work out has turned into the strongest 60 year old string bean man contest. I do get the anchor on deck and I. Am. Gassed. I’m done. Luckily Sue spots a mooring buoy dead ahead and we make for it and hook on. I don’t care whose this is because it’s MINE for tonight. I could not have laid and hauled the anchor one more time. Good timing because the sun is just going down.

We find out from the sailor next to us that the mooring is owned by the boat yard and we can pay them tomorrow. Now it’s time for arrival rum and sit on the foredeck and watch the stars come out. It is a LOT darker here in Carriacou than it is in Grenada. We love this bay and enjoy some snack, our rum, and left overs from yesterday. A good day all in all and the windlass will have to come off the deck and be a project for tomorrow.

Friday - The Windlass

First thing we rig the dinghy motor and put up our anchor shade. Now I’m at getting the windlass off the foredeck. This turns out to be easier than I would have imagined. Once out I turn it over and remove the plate at the bottom revealing a crumbling gasket and a bunch of gears. It’s a greasy mess in there.

Carriacou has this amazing platform boat that is actually a metal shop. I’ve spoken of this before but never used their services. Now I’m on it. The frenchman who owns the place and I discuss the workings of the windlass and the problem with the peeler. He speaks a little english and I speak my english really loudly and slowly and wave my arms which to the french sounds just like Marcel Marceau. He seems to be washing his hands of the fact that it isn’t working correctly but will try to fashion a new peeler if I can make the thing work. He’d like me to disassemble the whole thing and just bring him the empty casting.

Back to Enee. I attack the windlass with my available tools. I’m reminded of the time I took the family manual typewriter apart but couldn’t get it back together again before my dad got home. So I work slowly. With the windlass up-side-down I begin to understand how the double action works. A small gear has springs on it and is connected to a partner just like it. So on one stroke one gear is in operation but on the other the spring pulls the other gear into operation and thus the output always goes the same way. It is so gunked up inside that the little back and forth motion (probably less than a quarter inch) is not always happening. I clean up what I can and squirt WD-40 where that action happens and keep cranking back and forth. IT’S WORKING!

The bad news is that I can’t get this thing apart and don’t know that I really want to now that it is working. I take it back to the frenchman and ask him to see if he and devise something as is for the peeler problem.

Now it’s raining (and has been off and on all day). I’ll check with the frenchman later today. We think leaving Sunday is now a good plan and have to figure out how to check out with customs on Saturday.

Back at the metal shop the frenchman has indeed devised a new peeler and is just about done. He used a piece of rigging rod so this shouldn’t break. He also gave me a piece of gasket material to replace the old. He probably worked on this for a couple of hours. Total price? 150 EC or about $60 US. Not bad. Most yards charge 50 - 100 an hour for labor.

We cut the gasket and put it all back together on onto the foredeck. I’m hoping that the double action will still work with the anchor hanging on it. We lower the anchor a little and crank it back up. . . IT WORKS! This is good but now I’ve solved two problems after I needed them solved! Otto and the windlass. I’ll need them again though. We’re going to the main town of HIllsborough tomorrow to check out with customs and immigration and then on to Bequia tomorrow.

Saturday-

We’re re-upped with Chris Parker so we can call in on the SSB radio for info on a particular passage we plan to make. I still don’t understand radio. This guy is in Lakeland Florida, on a boat, and we hear each other loud and clear. Weather looks good for the next several days as is often the case in July in the Caribbean. Later in the morning I take the bus to HIllsborough to clear customs and immigration for our Sunday departure. No problems there but a bit of a wait for the customs lady to show up for work. Island time. . . We did little the rest of the day except to buy some eggs and limes from the nice vegetable lady and to prepare the boat for Sunday morning departure.

Sunday-

This sail to Bequia (~35 miles) is to be a test drive to see if I can do everything by myself. This is planning for after Sue goes back to Chicago in August (hey, that’s next month!) and I am sailing single. First thing...get going! I think order of events is a big part of solo sailing. With two of us we typically get going and then raise the main. Easier for one person to take care of the main while still hooked to the mooring ball. Engine on, ease main sheet, raise main. Looks good. I wait for the wind to come to the starboard side of the boat as I want to turn left when I release the line to the mooring ball. Wait for it. . . I let go. Enee backs down to port. I walk to the helm, trim the main, put her in gear and we are off!

While in the lee of Carriacou I roll out the genny, and let me say, EVERYTHING is so much easier with Otto at the helm. Even with two people we can hit the Auto button and now we can both tend lines or do whatever. But even more valuable for the solo sailor. Otto performed great during the whole trip to Bequia.

You have to round Union Island and then head up a little to make Bequia. Great sail to Union with Otto at the helm we are close reaching right on course. Otto is a WAY better driver than I am and only slightly better than Sue. Once out of the Lee of Union our close reach is taking us a tad west of our desired course but we’re making 6.5 - 7 knots in about 15 knot breeze so we take the speed and will make up the angle later. Bad idea that!

The waters between Union and Bequia are a little rougher but not really bad at all. On the other hand we haven’t been cruising for 2 years so we still have an adjustment period. When we are about 1 mile off course I decide to see if I can tack the boat alone (with Otto of course!). It has a tack function but I’ve not set that up so I just hit the right turn 10 degrees button 9 times. Otto makes a smooth turn, I release the jib, and haul in for the port tack. Now I can adjust the heading by hand and set course for this tack.

Oh this isn’t good. I’ve had to tack more than 120 degrees and my speed is down to 2-3 knots. What the hell? Think about it. . . current. Yep, there is a 2-3 knot west setting current here. I should have planned for this and motored some angle into the angle bank back by Union island. This port tack is no good. It’s taking be backwards, I’m slow and crashing into the chop. I tack back to starboard, reel in the jib and decide to motor across my original line until I can lay Bequia.

This isn’t going to work either! As close to the wind as I can motor/main I can aim the boat at an angle of 60 degrees. My original course was about 38 degrees so this should allow me to cross my line and wait until I can lay Bequia. But, notice I said I could AIM the boat at 60 degrees. With that my actual course is . . . about 40 degrees. This means that I am basically paralleling my course and will never be able to lay Bequia for a sail.

Damn. I am pretty tired of motor and main with the little arrow on the mast pointing me to where I am going. But there is nothing for it in this current. You’d tack for days trying to make Bequia.

Otto does pretty good in the chop but of course he can’t anticipate a larger wave. I take the helm for awhile to round off some of the bigger waves. On the energy side, Otto is great. He only draws 3-4 amps and with the wind generator on I actually have to be careful to not over charge the batteries. Otto was not cheap but he has quickly become the best boat improvement ever.

When you get to Bequia you’re not there yet. There is a long spit of land and some off shore rocks sticking out to the west that you have to get around before you can turn right and go directly into the east wind to the anchorage in Admiralty Bay. This is usually about another hour. Now can I anchor by myself.

To get the main down I slowed engine, drove into the wind, eased the main sheet, and activated Otto. No problem. I took my time and tried to do a good job flaking the sail. While chugging slowly like this I also pull dinghy up close to the stern in anticipation of backing down to anchor. Don’t want any lines in the prop!

As I got close to the anchorage I again engaged Otto and went to the foredeck pushed the anchor over the forepeak in preparation for dropping. We’ve been to this anchorage before and it is easy to hook. Nice and sandy. I watch the depth and pick my spot. Engine in neutral I then go to the fore deck and wait for the boat to stop. While waiting I hear, “HEY, Enee Marie!” I look up and see our good friends John and Nancy on Silver Seas anchored just ahead of us. Great! We saw NO old friends in Grenada.

When Enee is nearly stopped I drop the anchor and start paying out chain. There is little wind and a screwy current here so Enee doesn’t back straight down. I wait and let out some more chain. At this point I just want to set the hook so I have Sue back us down a little. Feels good but what does it look like? I don mask and fins and go take a look. Sweet. Anchor and shank are buried with one fin sticking up as is usual.

One passage and I did it all myself! I can DO it!

We each get a finger of rum and before we can finish that two more friends have driven over in their dinghys! Val and Lloyd on Puddle Jumper and Bob on Persephenie. John and Nancy come over too and pretty soon we’re all toasting to good friends.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It WORKS!

Yes, auto pilot is working. The book that comes with doesn't exactly match what the various screens are doing but I worked that out with the Raymarine man telephonically. Still need to do the sea trials to calibrate compass and we need some calm conditions and flat water for that. So. . .

Plan 147: We'll wait for the Wednesday/Thursday tropical wave to swing through and head out Friday. Hopefully it will be calm sometime or later on Thursday for sea trials for auto pilot. OR, we can perform that calibration on our way on Friday. We'll make Bequia Friday. Stay there Saturday and then make St. Lucia on Sunday. Now we'll take a hard look at the weather and see if we can make the long run to St. Somewhere (Croix, Thomas, John, or even Puerto Rico). Or if something very nasty is coming across the Atlantic we can make a 2 day run back to Grenada.

Not much left to do on the boat until Thursday. . .

Monday, July 04, 2011

Good News - Bad News

Good News: Auto-pilot parts came in

Bad News: Doesn't work. :(

Yeah, they have a series of things you go through to set the system up and it started fine and then when it was supposed to go to the mode where you set it up at rest it just went to STANBY. So, tomorrow I'll call Raymarine and they'll probably tell me to send the whole freaking thing in for diagnostics or that I'm SOL because I installed it myself instead if hiring a guy with a high school education (maybe) at $50 an hour to connect wires according to a diagram for me.

I swear to Jupiter, this boat is sailing on Wednesday and if I have a $5000 hurricane anchor down below well then so be it!

Good news: I got new handles on the dodger installed today to replace the ones that were stolen (so neener. . .I win!). We like those. They're right where you really want something to grab on to if you're coming aft from the foredeck.

More Good News: Got the new lettering on the transom today. Sue did all the tough work standing in a rocking dinghy trying to make things straight.











Looks great, eh? (excuse my Canadian, eh?)

Kudos to Sue for making it perfect! I love having a boat in Grenada with a hailing port of CHICAGO!

Yeah, it's freaking cold in the winter, eh, BRING A JACKET!

WE SAIL!




Finally, a sad note. . .Shirley, the very nice lady that worked in the tool room at Spice Island Marine where I worked for a time was killed last week being hit by a car. She was a nice lady and always happy to talk to Sue and I when we were in the yard. As Kurt Vonnegut would say:

"So it goes".

:(

This Could Be the Week!

Found out Saturday that the last parts that we need for the auto pilot are on the island and will be picked up on Monday. I should be able to finish the install Monday-Tuesday with a calibration run on Tuesday as well. That means Wednesday could be get away day and that would be good as we see a shift in wind to the ESE Wednesday - Thursday. That's excellent for going north!

Check out the wind forecast here!

Three other projects remain: New jib halyard has been purchased but needs to be reeved. We have new lettering for the transom that needs to be put on (that should lead to some swearing!). I have to connect up the rudder sensor for the auto-pilot.

Sue is going to the store today to get a few items to add to our stores and that should do it! We are SOOOO ready to get moving. Now all hurricanes: PLEASE STAND DOWN!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where are we Now?

Actually. . .

We're still in Grenada. The black hole of sailboats.

Let's see. . .we were ready to sail to Carriacou on Tuesday but we awoke to thunder and lightning. We decided to put it off a day when about 1-2 hours later it was fine. So Tuesday was a non-day of laying around, napping, and wishing we had pulled the trigger.

Tuesday had the added bonus of Sue going over to Prickly Bay Marina (motto: We hate you and the boat you rode in on!) to get ice and 4 jerry cans of water. Why not? When she returns the dinghy is freaking flat! What happened? Prickly Bay Marina dock is made of concrete with shards of glass, shark's teeth, rebar, sewing needles, razor wire, and other things embedded in the concrete. "Sure come on in and buy some water".

Bastards.

Well we had planned to tow the dinghy but we don't want to tow a flat one so we take off the motor and haul dinghy on deck. This is a process that is not pretty and does not lead to wedded bliss. OK?

PULL THE F***ING THING.

I'M PULLING!

Like that.

So we plan to sail to Carriacou with dinghy on board and spend the day there and maybe the next doing more dinghy repair. Maybe paint the bottom too because since I neglected the bottom for maybe 3 days and there are now 4 inch green beards around the water line. FINE!

We're up at 5. I check the engine, tighten the belt, we lash some final things to the deck and we are ready.

BOOM!

Thunder.

We re-check the weather. OK, there are various huge blobs coming toward Grenada. Nothing we couldn't handle if it came on us at sea but why leave in that?

So we stay. Again. And what a day it turned into...

We spent most of the morning looking for the dinghy leak while scrubbing and shaving green growth off the bottom. Oh but it would be good to have the wash down pump going now to clean off deck and dinghy. We turn on the breaker (it has it's own as it used to be married to the electric anchor windlass).

Nothing.

OK, I switch to my electrician's hat. I figure it must be the tiny switch in the anchor locker. This has been basically outdoors for 2 years. So, I cut it out and wire direct to the pump. It works! Well, it spins but no water comes out but, hey, that's progress, right?

Probably needs to be primed. Switch to plumber's hat. Now let me explain that the pump is under our bed in the V-berth so that bed and all the charts under the mattress have to be blown apart while I work, once again, standing on my head. I swear I'm just going to get up in the morning and put on my head lamp!

I disconnected the outflow line and put in a short hunk of hose. Then, well, I suck. Mightily! Who didn't know that!? Once I get water out the other side of the pump Sue turns on the breaker and Whooo HOOOOO, we got water squirting all over our bedroom! But, that means the pump works and we can use the hose topsides. This is just another example of working on something that was on NO list when I got up.

Now for the dinghy. Strangely while all this was going on the dinghy has not lost an atom of air! What the hell? Well, it ain't leaking now so we put it down to a mysterious leakage. We don't want to leave our sparkling clean dinghy in the water and we hate our dinghy davitts as they are too short and cause the dinghy to be drug up the transom which we just had repaired for a few thousand dollars. Well we have some ideas so let's get her in the water. OK.

The launching of the dinghy off the deck is similar to getting it on deck.

"What's wrong"
"It's stuck".
"Raise it or lower it"
[cricket noise]
"RAISE IT OR NOT?"
"WHAT"
"Oh for Christ's sake would you just pull the THING!
"Wait"
"Wait. . .What was that?"
"Oh good sweet baby Jesus. . ."

We had somehow hooked the rub rail from the dingy under the stainless rub rail on the boat and BOING shot about 30 wood screws into the sea while the stainless is sticking out like crazy bamboo shoots.

Do you see? Now I have another project that was on NO list when all I intended to do was go freaking SAILING!

We take out the remaining screws and stow the stainless on board. I then mix a batch of epoxy with some filler stuff and patch all the screw holes (well only missed three). Tomorrow we'll move the stainless 1 inch forward and drill and screw anew (!). (That's about 45 anew's!).

We've pulled dinghy out of the water and protected the transom with seat cushions. Could be the start of a bigger solution. A swim. A rum. Some backgammon and it's sunset. Weather dictates that we might as well hold tight, wait for our auto pilot parts (Friday or Monday. . . yeah, right!) and keep working on Enee. All plans chipped in Jell-O.

Where are we Now?

Actually. . .

We're still in Grenada. The black hole of sailboats.

Let's see. . .we were ready to sail to Carriacou on Tuesday but we awoke to thunder and lightning. We decided to put it off a day when about 1-2 hours later it was fine. So Tuesday was a non-day of laying around, napping, and wishing we had pulled the trigger.

Tuesday had the added bonus of Sue going over to Prickly Bay Marina (motto: We hate you and the boat you rode in on!) to get ice and 4 jerry cans of water. Why not? When she returns the dinghy is freaking flat! What happened? Prickly Bay Marina dock is made of concrete with shards of glass, shark's teeth, rebar, sewing needles, razor wire, and other things embedded in the concrete. "Sure come on in and buy some water".

Bastards.

Well we had planned to tow the dinghy but we don't want to tow a flat one so we take off the motor and haul dinghy on deck. This is a process that is not pretty and does not lead to wedded bliss. OK?

PULL THE F***ING THING.

I'M PULLING!

Like that.

So we plan to sail to Carriacou with dinghy on board and spend the day there and maybe the next doing more dinghy repair. Maybe paint the bottom too because since I neglected the bottom for maybe 3 days and there are now 4 inch green beards around the water line. FINE!

We're up at 5. I check the engine, tighten the belt, we lash some final things to the deck and we are ready.

BOOM!

Thunder.

We re-check the weather. OK, there are various huge blobs coming toward Grenada. Nothing we couldn't handle if it came on us at sea but why leave in that?

So we stay. Again. And what a day it turned into...

We spent most of the morning looking for the dinghy leak while scrubbing and shaving green growth off the bottom. Oh but it would be good to have the wash down pump going now to clean off deck and dinghy. We turn on the breaker (it has it's own as it used to be married to the electric anchor windlass).

Nothing.

OK, I switch to my electrician's hat. I figure it must be the tiny switch in the anchor locker. This has been basically outdoors for 2 years. So, I cut it out and wire direct to the pump. It works! Well, it spins but no water comes out but, hey, that's progress, right?

Probably needs to be primed. Switch to plumber's hat. Now let me explain that the pump is under our bed in the V-berth so that bed and all the charts under the mattress have to be blown apart while I work, once again, standing on my head. I swear I'm just going to get up in the morning and put on my head lamp!

I disconnected the outflow line and put in a short hunk of hose. Then, well, I suck. Mightily! Who didn't know that!? Once I get water out the other side of the pump Sue turns on the breaker and Whooo HOOOOO, we got water squirting all over our bedroom! But, that means the pump works and we can use the hose topsides. This is just another example of working on something that was on NO list when I got up.

Now for the dinghy. Strangely while all this was going on the dinghy has not lost an atom of air! What the hell? Well, it ain't leaking now so we put it down to a mysterious leakage. We don't want to leave our sparkling clean dinghy in the water and we hate our dinghy davitts as they are too short and cause the dinghy to be drug up the transom which we just had repaired for a few thousand dollars. Well we have some ideas so let's get her in the water. OK.

The launching of the dinghy off the deck is similar to getting it on deck.

"What's wrong"
"It's stuck".
"Raise it or lower it"
""
"RAISE IT OR NOT?"
"WHAT"
"Oh for Christ's sake would you just pull the THING!
"Wait"
"Wait. . .What was that?"
"Oh good sweet baby Jesus. . ."

We had somehow hooked the rub rail from the dingy under the stainless rub rail on the boat and BOING shot about 30 wood screws into the sea while the stainless is sticking out like crazy bamboo shoots.

Do you see? Now I have another project that was on NO list when all I intended to do was go freaking SAILING!

We take out the remaining screws and stow the stainless on board. I then mix a batch of epoxy with some filler stuff and patch all the screw holes (well only missed three). Tomorrow we'll move the stainless 1 inch forward and drill and screw anew (!). (That's about 45 anew's!).

We've pulled dinghy out of the water and protected the transom with seat cushions. Could be the start of a bigger solution. A swim. A rum. Some backgammon and it's sunset. Weather dictates that we might as well hold tight, wait for our auto pilot parts (Friday or Monday. . . yeah, right!) and keep working on Enee. All plans chipped in Jell-O.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Let's Go to Carriacou!


Why not!
The auto pilot isn't quite working yet. Scott found out that there is a part or two still missing and those are now on order. They say they'll be here in a week. We figure probably two.
So why sit still when you can sail? That's what we say.
All other systems are good - finally - so we decided to head up the road about 30 miles to the next island north. It's still part of the Grenada government so we don't need to check out and in. And we're ready for a little sailing. Weather should be good and hopefully the wind will stay east and not turn north too soon.

It's been 3 weeks since we landed back in Grenada. It's been quite a transition from the Chicago way of life. First of all, there is no Lucy here and she and her parents are sorely missed by us. We had gotten into a groove in Chicago and really liked it. Well - Scott was ready to re-retire from teaching high school, but besides that Chicago is a great place to live.

Now we're back in the Caribbean and indeed it takes a little while to get used to island time and island weather again - not to mention getting used to living on the boat. You're always in motion and in fact I felt myself swaying back and forth while standing at the bar at da big Fish today waiting for our groceries to be delivered. After all our work (mostly Scott's) putting the auto helm together and fixing the fuel tank among other things, the boat is actually looking like ours again.



We needed to get more food on board. So today I went to the Food Land for cans of chicken and ham then to CK's for cases of juice, then to IGA for fresh fruit and produce. Our lockers are now full of goodies that should last a month. Well -- maybe not the rum but the rest should last.

We're still not sure what the future holds. Depending on when these auto pilot parts arrive we may or may not be heading north to Puerto Rican waters. Time will tell.
In the meantime we plan to have a lovely sail to Carriacou and try to remember how to make the pointy end go forward!


More later--------

Saturday, June 25, 2011

We SAIL!

We spent all morning re-rigging Enee for sailing. Sue has patched the sail cover as best she can and we put that up. We got two prices for repairing it that were both more than we originally paid for it. Keep patching! We made a yoke for dinghy towing. Scott experimented with hauling the 85 pound outboard on deck by himself in preparation for some sailing alone that will happen once Sue returns to Chicago in August. That went. . .not so well. The brute force method (usually my favorite) is not so good. Have to think about a better, safer way. Re-riggin the lazy jacks and reefing lines was truly a test of our memories. We passed (with C's) So everything lashed down as best we remember we're ready to go. The BIG question of course is would the engine drink fuel from the actual fuel tank? It would and it did. Engine is running fine.

Out we go!

We raised the main within Prickly Bay and the jib a little later. Our new jib looks great! It's probably about 110% and the clew comes to just a little past the mast. Our old sail was huge with the clew coming nearly back to the cockpit. This sail is much easier to tack, better shape, easier to roll up, and we expect not much loss in speed due to it's better shape. We'll see. We didn't try to trim sails very hard today. We just tacked a couple of times, looked around and made sure everything was working as we remembered. See, it's bee nearly 2 years since we sailed this boat!

Today was a mild day in the Caribbean with winds probably around 15 knots and seas 4 - 5 feet. And yet, THAT will take some getting used to again when those conditions and more are the norm for a day or two to make a passage.

I'm working with my good friend Kerry on Bellagio as to the wiring for the auto helm. I can't believe that Raymarine is making it as complicated as it seems. All of their instructions are for a boat with multiple Raymarine gadgets that need to 'talk to each other'. I just want their stinking auto pilot to steer the damn boat! We'll see.

So, we're back on our mooring and taking it easy. Our bodies are still getting used to the crawling, climbing, crab-walking that one does on a boat instead of plain old walking. If we're willing to leave without the autopilot, Tuesday could be the day.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pictures!

Well, just another day in paradise! If paradise had horizontal rain and 40 knot winds! But, our mooring held and only one boat drug in Prickly bay and no big deal. A good day for indoor projects, napping, and reading.









But yesterday it was sunny and Sailor Sue re-bedded that leaky deck prism. Deck prisms are really old school. Old sailing ships used them to bring some light down below in the days before electricity. As stingy as I am about electricity. . .I LOVE deck prisms!








Hey! Who's that? That's capt. me with new sail rolled up on the forestay. Can't wait to try it out. It's got shiny new jib sheets in case you didn't notice! Enee is looking more and more like a sailboat ready to go cruising.

And . .NO, I DO NOT look like my father!












But here's a nice shot of our new cushions and they're not Vinyl! AND their good for napping - the entire crew agrees.


OK, It takes about 15 minutes per picture so I'm quitting now.

Everything on the island is closed tomorrow for some crazy-ass holiday so looks like we'll stay aboard and do some of the many little projects that await. BUT we could be sailing by the end of the weekend.

Really!

Real Progress

Good News: The fuel tank is sealed! Tested it this morning and no bubbles. Wheeeeeee HOOO!

The autohelm is totally in but not the final wiring which I am having trouble deciphering from Raymarine.

We were going to hoist our new jib this morning but Grenada has a big tropical wave sitting on it with lots of wind and storms. We'll wait a day on that one.

Got the SSB radio up and running and listened to the off shore report today from the National Weather Service. I like starting my day that way and I keep a log of the weather report day by day. Helps in planning.

Speaking of planning: We will take Enee out for a day sail just to try the new jib and see if we remember how to sail. We'll probably anchor then and not take the mooring ball back to practice anchoring again. We've had a hole cut in the bottom of the anchor locker so in theory I can get at the chain from topsides when it castles up. We'll see. If all goes well with that trial run we'll pick a good sailing day to make a 60 mile run to Bequia. From there about the same length run to St. Lucia. Now we have a great angle to St. John/St Thomas or we can even fall off more and sail to Puerto Rico. OR, if a hurricane is coming we are only 2 days away from running to hide back in Grenada. The run to those northern waters is about 300 miles or 2.5 - 3 days. I think I'd like the auto helm for that.

Other small jobs keep getting done. Sue re-bedded one of the deck prisms over the aft cabin as it was leaking during heavy rain. We're about to put the mattress back in the aft cabin so we won't be working around that any longer. Hurray.

Looks like something heavy broke the knob on the forward head so, ugh, we've been flushing with a bucket. Can't find that part here either of course. But, I have the same toilet in the aft head so I'm hope to rob from that one to fix the forward head.

I'd put up pictures but the coconut wifi is not up to that this morning.

Out and Over!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breaking Faster than we can Work?

We've completed the mechanical installation of the auto pilot. You know, we really just cut some 2x4's and bolted them together but upside down by the rudder post using a mirror in one hand and a cordless drill in the other, well, it just takes a little longer.

Today we had to take the compute in for repair. Still, it's not right and it probably needs a new battery and that's a quest for tomorrow.

We tested the fuel tank for leaks after our excellent re-bedding and patching. . .there were several.

:(

So, today I took out all 12 screws and re-bedded the rubber gasket with some gasket goo. We'll see tomorrow if this makes a difference.

We bought new sheets for our new foresail (no, Andrea, these kind of sheets don't go on a bed). Tomorrow morning when the wind is down we'll hoist our new jib and see if we like the cut of it!

I keep talking to more and more sailors that have had things stolen off of their yachts at Spice Island Marine. Means nothing to Spice Island Marine because they put a line in their contract that says, "We're not responsible". I'd say! Truth in advertising there. I wonder if some sharp lawyer could make a case that a joint with a fence and security guard at the entrance is somehow giving a false sense of security for those who don't read the fine print. Suffice it to say that there are a number of us who will not be back when it's time to haul out. Any cruisers out there, read your Doyle book. There are a LOT of yards in the Caribbean.

On the upside: This is our view from on deck.











On the downside. . .this has been my view lately!

LET'S GO SAILING!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another Day, another $2.67 EC

More good progress today. It may seem to you that I'm working slowly. Well, I am. Crammed upside down on a rolling boat in a stinky engine room tends to slow me down. But. . .

I did finally screw down the inspection plate. Yesterday only 9 of 12 screws would go in so today I took all the screws back out and had to re-tap two of the holes. The other was just being shy about being screwed. All went down very nicely then. We'll see how well it seals!

I did find a right angle drill to borrow on the morning VHF cruisers net. There's no other way to drill and tap the holes necessary for the fuel gauge. Had to walk over to the next bay, Mt. Hartman, to pick it up and, yes, I got miserably lost in the heat of the day. I turned a 10 minute walk into a 45 minute Bataan death march. But I found it and I got the drill and I sold my refrigeration gauges in the bargain.

Back on board I decided to put the drilling and tapping in the engine room off to tomorrow morning when it's a little cooler and busied myself with fishing the wires from the hydraulic ram down by the steering quadrant up to the galley where I've mounted the brain box for the auto pilot. No big challenges there and it sure is nice to have a fish tape on board. I wonder where I got it?

Sue, being the wonderful 1st (or 2nd) mate trudged to a lumber yard and brought back a 6' piece of 2x4. Yay! I'm going to marry (sue?) that board to a cross member down by the rudder post and bolt the hydraulic ram to those 2x4's. that should be solid and that should WORK.

I wrote to Raymarine today as it seemed none of the wires that came with my auto pilot system actually connect the control head to the brain box. Well, no, they don't because there are about 6 other items I'm supposed to have for that! Really? I wrote back and told them I don't have any other Raymarine products, no chart plotter, no radar, no gps, etc. I just want the damn thing to steer the boat on a set compass course! Now we'll see how long it takes to get THESE parts if in fact they are essential (of course they will be and they'll be damn expensive I'm guessing).

Our new jib is done and on board. Tomorrow we're going to buy new jib halyard and probably new sheets as well. Anxious to see what this new sail looks like unfurled!

Looks like we might just get Enee back together before we run out of money. Could we sail away from here in a week? We'll see. . . Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Progress



Oh boy. . .Sue and I spent the morning and some afternoon with our heads stuck into the engine room with and open diesel tank, other solvents and a rolling boat.

Pass the bucket!

Sue had gone to the Ace and got a rag mop and she used that to absorb the last of the bad fuel. Less than a gallon so we've done well to get old liquids out. There are still some deposits and chunky type stuff in there but no good way to get to it. The bottom of the tank is about 4 feet down.

I then laid down a layer of Marine Tex to level the area around the inspection plate and around where the fuel gauge goes. I plan to sand this tomorrow to make nice and level. I found through some internet research that the ONLY thing to use to make a seal on a diesel tank is Buna-N rubber. So, that's where our quest begins tomorrow. I have neoprene and used that before and it has turned into a rotten sponge. That's not a gasket! 3M 5200 is NOT compatible with diesel so it's the Buna-N or nothing I guess. We're both very anxious to get that tank capped to start to exhaust the diesel smell from the boat.

So if we find a source for the rubber, Sue will head out to buy that and I'll drill and tap new holes for the plate and fuel gauge. (Sue prefers to be away from the boat when Scott is drilling and tapping new holes. Sue is then less likely to be blamed for a mistake.)

And yes. . .we ARE in the Caribbean so as lousy as all this work is, it still ends with a swim and a cocktail and enjoying the gentle rocking of Enee Marie. Hope to finish the diesel tank tomorrow and then. . . ON TO THE AUTO PILOT!











Finally a sad picture! See our GPS? See our Radar? No? See the cut wires? 'Nuff said!

Bastards!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tanks a LOT!

We took Enee back to Spice Island Marine today. She actually runs great out of a 5 gallon jerry can. (I wonder how far we could travel with a few of those on board. . .) Anyway, we tied to their pier and their most clever mechanic, Desmond, a helper, and myself proceeded to remove the inspection plate from the fuel tank and pump out ALL the nastiness inside into 55 gallon drums. The inspection plate came off without too much trouble and the fuel/water mix was right to the top. After a lot of sucking and hollering to prime the pump we pumped nearly all of the gunk out of the tank. The first several gallons were pure water.

The tank itself is more interesting than I would have thought. It's 75 gallons but not just one big 75 gallon box. Inside there are 3 or 4 baffles dividing up the space. This to keep the 75 gallons from violently sloshing fore and aft. This is an ugly and nasty job and it's far from done. We're now back on our mooring ball and tomorrow we face sponging up the remaining fuel/gunk that the pump didn't get, cleaning off the top of the tank, making it FLAT where the fuel gauge goes and where the inspection plate goes, and plugging some holes that are there for god knows why. Speaking of the inspection plate, it was held down with about 12 screws - some machine screws, some sheet metal screws. some long some short. So, I plan to drill out all the holes and go up one size in machine screw and re-tap them all.

I'm researching now as to the best way to re-bed those things to the tank. I like 5200 because it is for ever and I can build that up some to make the seal a little dam-like. There are a number of things out there called gasket ________ (fill in the blank). Anyone with a point of view on this feel free to jump in.

By the way . . .when you're sweating your butt off and you have your head stuck in an engine room reeking of diesel do you really want to hear that the water pump to the faucets isn't working?

You don't. But that got fixed later.

To work backwards we started our day by putting on the main sail. She looks more like a sailboat now. We are waiting to put on the Mack Pack sail cover as after inspection, it is in need of serious repair.

Our day ended with Sue retrieving some beers while I fixed the water system (for the 457th time). That led to a swim with our noodles and all is good for a bit before we get back after it tomorrow.

(I have pictures to upload but not with the coconut telegraph wifi system we are on. Maybe tomorrow or if I get up at 3 AM.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday in the Islands

Truly Sunday is a day off in the islands. Nobody works. Stores are closed. Bars and restuarants are closed. Kind of nice. We're waiting to solve our fuel tank problems but nothing can happen with that until Tuesday as Monday is a holiday making it just like Sunday. So . . .

What did we do today? I worked on the installation of the auto pilot. I have questions for Raymarine and Edson before I can proceed. Wiring could be done but I have to buy wire. But I have an idea of how it might be installed. I cleaned up my workbench and worked on making the drawers not slide out when on a starboard tack. No perfect solution yet. We have a tiny oozing at the fitting for the depth sounder. Sue has tried packing that goo around it that comes in a tube and then you slice off a hunk and mix the outer layer with the inner layer. Like trying to seal your basement from the inside (I've tried this as well) it didn't work so hot. But, I thought I read that this same stuff would work under the water line. So I dove on the boat and packed that goo around the fitting underwater. Seemed to work at first but then oozed a little later. I'm not worried about this because. . .

I'm an idiot!

No really, the fitting is secure but apparently the packing has become a little brittle. I'm sure we won't sink.

Soon.

I found the door to the under the sink locker and the slats that had been made for it. I got those in to fix the hole there and sanded the whole thing down. Now it's ready for some varnish to match the rest of the boat which, by the way, is looking pretty spiffy with new cushions. Pictures later.

Sue was busy cleaning our very dirty hatches and soaking our equally dirty lines in a soapy bucket. Clothes were put away and little by little we're figuring out how to live aboard again. We both think it's important to not feel stuck just because we have a BIG UGLY job ahead of us that is the fuel tank but still try to make Enee pretty and more comfortable for living.

We also took time or naps and a couple of swims.

Oh, and the weather has be splendid with a nice breeze 24 hours a day. So the boat needs more money poured into it but life could be a lot worse.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fuel Tank

After making measurements of other places to put a fuel tank I find that there is no place to get more than maybe 50 gallons. We bought this boat based on the 75 gallons of fuel for the range that would give us. So my current plan is to get the existing tank cleaned out. The yard can do that for me on Tuesday probably. Then I'm going to remove all the connections on the top, clean the whole top, seal up any tiny holes and then re-bed all of the connections and re-bed the inspection plate. Hey! I might even put in a working fuel gauge! 20th century here I come! Right there the tank would be WAY better than it is now. With 75 gallons of fresh fuel in then (ka ching!) we wold have to be ahead of where we were. I think that's the best I can do at this point. Any comments as to details I'm overlooking with this plan are more than welcome as long as you agree with me!

So, not much can happen in the very near future. Monday is some sort of holiday here so we'll use the intervening time to continue to put things away and clean this old tub, and buy some groceries.

Friday, June 10, 2011

News: Some bad but some good too!

Enee was successfully launched yesterday. Amazing maneourving in tight quarters in the yard but the guys who work the big machinery are really good. Engine started as it did back in March as we waited for the guys from Budget Marine (right next door) to bring my 3 shiny new Trojan batteries. While waiting the engine slowed and stopped and was not to start again.

make sad face here. ..

With Diesel engines you wonder what is wrong but not for long. It almost has to be the fuel and it was. The fuel tank in the Endeavour is actually lower than the bilge or if you like it IS the bilge. If water were to come up too high because bilge pump is not operating on the hard. So on one hand, big deal. Certainly the tank is sealed on top. Unfortunately no. There are voids and small holes etc. So what has happened is that while we were away and not able to monitor the bilge rain water gets in, water and oil and what not eased its way in to the tank. Add to that what was able to grow in there while we were away and the bottom line is that the diesel fuel in the tank looked like dark brown s***.

The guys at Spice Island were very helpful. Frankie sent Desmond to our boat after lunch and he worked for 3 hours cleaning out the Racor and jury rigging the fuel system to work out of the 5 gal jerry can just to get us the hell out of the yard.

While waiting for this operation to be completed we contacted the lady who took care of Enee the last couple of months as we knew that she had a mooring ball available in the bay. While we are adept at anchoring we didn't need any more adventures for the day.

Meanwhile Desmond is bleeding the injectors during which time you just crank the engine and wait for fuel to appear at each injector. It's a crummy job. I've done it and I hate it. So while the engine was cranking suddenly Desmond starts screaming, "SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN. . . He had become entangled in the belt/alternator business. Sue sprung into action and tried to shut the engine down by turning off the key (Diesels don't work that way). Finally she got to the shut off plunger and shut her down. Luckily, Desmond only got his shirt in the alternator and the blades of that scraped his arm a little. But no blood so no foul.

So, with our 5 gallons of diesel we motor out to the mooring ball, pick it up (only took 2 passes) and got attached. We're in. Boat is rocking nicely and for the time being we can not worry about fuel systems. Tomorrow is the other big question: Can we find more holes in the dinghy (it's still leaking) and will the outboard start? But today we're up for a swim and some rum punch (we think of everything if it doesn't have to do with engine maintenance). Holy crap. . .the caribbean water was even more wonderful than I remembered. We bobbed around for a bit and rinsed off on deck. Sleep was pretty good too with Enee gently rocking back and forth.

So, Friday starts with a bit of good news. The re-build I did on the propane system all works so that means COFFEE and that's important. Now to the dingy. We discover that Sue is the better finder of leaks. She finds 3 more! We patch those and it looks like we're finally holding our air! While doing this we discuss how we might best turn the dinghy right side up on deck and get her into the water. This is eventually accomplished with almost no swearing! Now for the outboard.

Our 18 horse Tohatsu 2 stroke has been hanging on the stern rail of the boat outdoors for about 18 months. I looked inside of it when I was here in March and declared it startable. Now for the test. Of course all things moveable are not corroded and immoveable but are easily loosed with some elbo grease and corrosion block. We have to sort of re-train ourselves as to the procedure for getting the engine from deck to dingy but we manage.

Fuel is ready, hose connected, oh yeah, squeeze the bulb to bring fuel in to the motor. The bulb was about as flexible as a major league baseball! I managed to squeeze it a little using both hands and squeezing has hard as I could.

One pull, two , three. . . VROOOOOOM! Holy crap! It started! Amazing. After all that time. Now both boats can move and projects can begin in earnest. AND, it's not even noon yet!

Now as you can see we've arranged internet. Timely updates and pics while we do our work.

We had hoped to come down get a couple of jobs done and sail north. Now it looks like we're going to be in boat repair/upgrade mode for a while. So be it. If you need to work on your boat there is just about no better place than Grenada. It's all here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Thanks

Thanks for kind thoughts from commenters. We've spent a productive half day on the boat. We've hopefully found the LAST leak in the dinghy but time will tell. Bottom job is done and looks good. Replaced the zinc and scraped and sanded the propeller. I plugged the old feed hole in the forward water tank. We filled the aft tank. We'll fill the forward tank before leaving the boat today. Bought a hand held GPS from a fellow cruiser today. I only use lat long from any gps anyway so we're good for now. I may still try to replace the nice little Furuno unit we had at the helm though as it is handy and doesn't use batteries. The one I bought today can be back-up then.

I'll not replace the radar unit. I never really used it. Thought it was too bright at the helm at night anyway. With charts and gps you KNOW where you are. Other ships should be well lit at night and if they are running dark you have other problems!

Our new cushions will arrive tomorrow and should be a big improvement from the green vinyl. Right, vinyl was not so good in the tropics. Checked in with the french sail maker and shockingly the fore sail that we ordered at the end of March is not quite done. Waiting for UV cover and that should happen before the end of next week. Seems stupid but I don't really care. I'll have enough to keep me busy until then anyway.

Our three new Trojan batteries will be delivered to the boat later today. I need to make up pig tails to connect them together and get another battery strap to tie the thrid one down.

That's about it for now. We're back at the apartment for a cool down and lunch and will return to Enee soon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Dark Day in Grenada

Just was on board Enee Marie and noticed something looked different at the helm. Oh yeah, The GPS and the radar unit are both gone. Wires cut. Units gone. This is bad. Those are very expensive units and we've sunk our money into a new sail, bottom paint, new batteries, and $5000 for auto pilot yet to be installed. Of course the yard can do nothing and it clearly states that in the agreement. I've had the boat in the yard for 16 months at $450 a month plus have hired them to do various work on the boat. I know they can't be responsible or THEY'D go broke but it sure pisses me off. I can sail without radar but not GPS. Maybe just buy a hand held and go with that.

Anybody want to buy a boat?

Cheap!

PASS THE RUM!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Wrapping up Chicago


What a great 1.75 years it has been. During this extended stay in Chicago we have helped to raise little Lucy our grand daughter which is absolutely the best job ever! She is action packed and learning stuff at a very scary pace and, yes, being forced into the dark side of baseball - The Cubs.

Sue has been teaching full time at Columbia College and that will actually continue in the fall

I also taught a class or two at Columbia and most recently taught full time high school again (gasp) at North Shore Country Day School. All together we enjoyed both teaching and playing with Lucy AND got to feed the sailing kitty.

Just talked to Spice Island Marine in Grenada and Enee is getting her bottom painted as we speak and our launch is scheduled for the 9th. Hey. . .That's next week!

We hope to sail north to Puerto Rico/St. Johns waters this summer. Sue will head back to Chicago to continue teaching while I stay with the boat, make frequent trips back to Chicago, and dodge hurricanes.

So, stay tuned for regular updates as we figure out how to sail again. . .GRAB THE THING!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Done -


and good morning to you, Mr. Lizard!












Did a few more little things today. Put up the anchor shade. Wow! Did it ever shrink! That edge used to go to the mast! What the hell? How does that happen? Cleaned up a little. Put tools in zip lock with corrosion block sprayed inside! So there!

Reserved the paint that the yard will need to paint the bottom before we arrive.





This is the space where the linear drive will go to steer the boat. That old nasty air conditioner took about 30 seconds to rip out. I still have some copper piping to rip out. I probably could have paid for all the upgrades on copper I've ripped out of this boat! Sue and I agree. . . trying to keep a box at, say, 50 degrees when all around you is 85 degrees. . .well, expect problems! We're not going to try.






I met with Lesley one more time. She'll open up the boat once a week to keep the mold down. She's also chasing down the lady that is going go to make new seat cushions for us. I'm very excited to not be peeling myself off the vinyl any longer. The sample she sent over looks very nice. Lesley will send pics and estimate before proceeding.

Bought a 45 lb CQR anchor off a catamaran sailor. . .only $200!! Now we have two CQRs (this one looks to be a little bigger than our other one) and another smaller anchor. One more ought to do it for staying up north in Hurricane season. That and plenty of heavy line. I'll buy 50' of chain and maybe 200 feet of rope for this anchor when we return.

Sue and I return on June 6 and I've scheduled our launch for June 9. That gives us two full days to mess about on the hard before we splash. I've made arrangements for us to stay here at Cool Running as that also was a great find.

All in all a productive (if expensive!) couple of weeks. I'm so glad that things look like they will work as before. . .being a sailboat the systems are pretty simple and it's important to keep it that way. Fancy auto pilot is a big deal for us but completely necessary for long passages and especially for any solo sailing I do when Sue is in Chicago. Can't wait to feel the boat move under my feet again.

So any potential or current cruisers out there who have not been to Grenada it is an excellent place to outfit your boat. Lots of help and expertise here.

Looking forward to getting back to Chicago as well. Dying to see my family and for that good old Chicago pizza. Tomorrow night!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PIeces Falling into Place

Cleared up another old problem today - that of the forward head sink not draining. Now's the time to take this apart when the sea doesn't come in! Good Christ! I hate working with that real stiff black hose - connects the sink drain to the sea cock. Finally got it off after much sweating and the standard swearing. Sure enough there was a fitting of some sort down there that was just the right size to completely plug the hole into the sea cock. So one more OLD problem gone away.

Mike from Enza Marine came back out with the rebuilt KISS generator. He put in new bearings and a seal that should have been there but wasn't. He said the bearings will take a few days to loosen up. We'll see if its a better generator now. It was already spinning nicely when I left the boat today.

Now, the big news is the linear drive for the auto-pilot. It did arrive and I messed around a lot with where it might go. First of all where it HAS to go is where an old air conditioning unit was. I ripped that out (easy enough) and began measuring and planning. It comes down to this: Not going to happen before I leave now. I definitely need to get a tiller arm from Edson to have the push pull rod from the linear drive work on . No good way to attach it directly to the quadrant. I talked with Frankie, the most clever builder/designer of fixtures, and we agreed on a plan. Working with him, Raymarine, and Edson while I'm back in the states I think we can get this baby put together. I'll do all the electrical connections when I return.

Found another leak on the dinghy and maybe this is the last one? We'll see tomorrow if dinghy is limp and sad or perky and happy.

Tomorrow I'm just going to clean and organize and not get into any major building/modifying projects. I'm hoping that when Sue and I return on June 6 the boat will be bottom painted and ready to launch on the 7th or 8th. We'll probably stay right here at Cool Running which has been perfect for this project.

Thanks for reading! Two months and we're sailing again!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Almost Done. . .

Good day today. Number one goal was to get the engine to pump water. Couldn’t find any obstructions so I thought I’d just narrow it down. I took off the boot to the heat exchanger. Now the pump only has to pump water from the bucket I’ve put in the engine room to the top of the pump! If it can do that then the problem is down range from there.

Let ‘er rip. Wow! Lots of water spewing around the engine room. That’s a good thing. I put the boot back on hoping that this has somehow ‘primed’ the pump. Go again. Wheeeee. . . water is going all the way through the system and out the stern. Good deal. Unfortunately it is also spewing out around the pump plate at all four screw locations.

Hmmmm….

I realize I’ve changed out this plate for another I had on board. Certainly they are identical. The one that was on there had some of the paper gasket welded to it so I spent some quality time with a sharp knife scraping off the old gasket and trying not to deeply score the plate. I put this plate back on and try once again and now I only have a tiny drip from the top screw. I’ll work on this at some other time as I only like to complete 95% of any project anyway.

I talked to the people at Enza Marine who service KISS wind generators. They gave me some good information as to how to take the unit off the mast it is on and bring it to them. Unfortunately this process involves standing on a ladder on deck and said deck is already about 14 feet off the ground. I am so bad with heights.

The plan is to unscrew the hub that holds the 3 blades first. Then remove the unit itself. The hub is a left handed screw. Fine. I hold the axle with a wrench and try to unscrew the hub. No way. I try taking the whole unit off with the blades attached. I can’t turn that collar either. I’ve had it.







I call Enza back and tell them I’ll pay for THEM to take the thing off and get it to their shop. I nice guy, Mike, shows up later and working together we the the unit off. While sorting out the paper work for payment he looks at me and says, ‘So you’re Scott Welty”. I am. Turn out he recognized the name from the astronomy articles I’ve been writing for the Cribbean Compass. Oh the problems of fame! He remembered I wrote a column telling where and when to look to see the space station go by . . . and it worked! Who knew?!

So Enza has the KISS unit at the shop and will be in touch to get more money. Fine.





I have the dingy suspended up in the air and have been cleaning the deck down where she has been laying for these several months. Not too bad. Maybe now’s the chance to find that leak that has been driving me nuts in the dinghy. Actually suspended about 3 feet off the deck is a great way to work on it and clean it. I can blast dirt out from between the tubes and the hull which is hard to do when it is right side up. I spread soapy water as I work looking for tell tale bubbles. And there they are! right on the nose a significant leak. I buy some glue as the stuff that came with the dinghy repair kit has dried up and patch said leak. I’m happy about this but upon later inspection I see that this tube is still down so there is another leak (or more) to find.

I put up the dodger. I was afraid how this might look but it looks great. Plastic needs some tlc but overall it is fine. Now she’s starting to look like a sailboat again!

No good news on the remaining part for the auto pilot which was my main reason for coming down here. I was given the run around by the boys at Budget Marine today: "It’s on the truck, the truck is coming, any time now, Nick is getting it now". The day ended with me saying, I’m glad that Nick is picking it up now. If it’s not here in the morning I’m bringing the other parts back and expecting a refund. I can only be dicked around so long. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Mystery of the Non-Starting Engine. . . SOLVED!

Actually, this is a whole chapter in my book! I never really felt comfortable with the solution presented there but so it goes. The problem I'm referring to is the 1 out of 100 times when we'd push the button to start the engine and NOTHING would happen. No click no pop no whirrrrrrr. Nada.

So trying to get Enee started after 18 months on the hard I figured on having problems one of which was the same nada when I pushed the button. Well, I've always suspected the bargain solenoid I bought in Ft. Myers Beach (always go with marine grade!) so I bought a new shiny one at the Napa store. Looks just like the old one with two small posts for the low current side. . . that's the side with the push button and two larger posts for the starter current. These things are stupid simple. When a current goes through the small posts it energizes a coil (magnet) which pulls a plate down to connect the starter current. Simple. This way the 60 or 70 amps that go through the starter aren't' going through you tiny key switch!

I installed it and pushed the button. Nada. Ok, I'm probably dealing with a dead battery here but so dead it can't even turn on this little coil? NO, the battery runs the bilge pump etc so it might not be up to cranking the engine but it should make the coil click.

Well, I'm going to need new batteries anyway so I buy one and put in an order for 3 more for when we return. Trojan batteries. . .leave your joke in the comments. Now I will know that what ever is going on it is NOT the battery.

Connect the battery, push the button . . . nada. What the hell?

I talk to Frankie the yard guy and ask if solenoids are as simple as I think they are (meaning are they as simple as me!). Well, yes and no. Sometimes the case is the ground. . . remember the little dog in front of the speaker in the RCA logo. That was me. Ok something new to try!

I un-wire the solenoid and play with it with alligator wires (I'd have figured this out sooner with a LOT less swearing if I'd not left the battery in my multimeter!). Ah HA! the frame of the damn thing and the left terminal are what activate the coil. The right terminal is apparently there to torment physics teachers who think they know about electricity!

Back in she goes. I connect one wire to the left side, one wire to the case (the ground) and the output wires to the starter. Gotta work now!

nada

I hope no one was walking past my boat just then to hear the language that was coming out of the engine room. Now I am completely stumped. . . again! I know the damn thing worked when it was in my hands but now it's not working. . . what's different? I take wires off (and just so you know, taking the wires off involves me craming myself into a corner of the engine room with that stupid light on my head) one at a time and just bring a positive lead from the battery over to that left terminal. Nothing. Then I take off the ground wire (which is attached to the engine block) and just connect the thing to the + and - of the battery. CLICK!

? (RCA dog again)

crickets . . . .

The ground wire?

So now I put a wire on the case and touch it to various places on the engine for ground and listen for the click. This is hard as the engine is painted so not a whole lot of bare metal to use. It turns out to not work where the ground wire has been connected since we had the major overhaul in Ft. Lauderdale in 05. This is a connection to a bolt that attaches the water pump to the engine block. It used to work, then it worked 99/100 times and now its not working at all. What the hell changes about a bolt in an engine? Well that's it though and I have to find a different connection which I do and I test before putting all back together.

All right now. All back together. Got a new battery. Got a bucket of water for the pump to suck from. . .I'm ready. Key on. . .BZZZZZZZZZ, hit the switch. . .


And. . . .


It was like we'd never left. The old Perkins turned over about a dozen time and fired right up! Imagine me doing the dance of joy!

The bad news is (and there's always some bad news, right?) is that the pump is not sucking water. I know the impeller is good as I inspected it yesterday so maybe some clogging (not the funny dance thing) on down the line. BUT that's for tomorrow. I am DONE!

In other projects, I raised the dingy up off the deck using the jib halyard and while ugly under there it was mostly just dust and came up with a squirt from the hose. The tougher stuff will probably come up with some scrubbing and detergent. I've decided to leaver her on deck for launch. I patched a couple of dings in the hull with epoxy.

I opened up the outboard and it looks like new in there. This has got to run so I'm not going to try to muscle this off the boat to test.

I ordered our new, smaller genny from the sailmaker so that should be ready for us when we return in June. Fun to have a new sail and I'll probably have lots to say about that once we get under way.

And finally back in the bad news column, I turned on the switch for the KISS wind generator and she just won't turn. I can turn it with a stick but in a breeze that should have had it spinning nicely . . .nothing. So, there's a question for tomorrow to see who works on these things.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nobody Works on Sunday


And it's pretty true in the islands. Like just about everywhere when I was a kid, nothing is open on Sunday with some exceptions. I decided I needed a day off as well. I also decided I needed a real cup of coffee after a week of Folgers instant. I walked to the New York Deli not knowing exactly when they opened but I had been there last week so . . .I get there and see the closed sign. Darn. I walk up to check their hours and when I get to the door a hand flips the sign to open! Perfect! I have a cup of joe and a bagle while reading my book, Room which damn well better have a happy ending!

From there I decided to walk along the beach. Beautiful morning. light breeze, partly cloudy probably about 80. I walked all the way to the other end of Grand Anse Beach to a joint we know about called Jenny's Place (Jenny was Miss Universe in about 1879 or something). Looks like Jenny's place (not unlike Jenny herself) is undergoing renovations. I stopped here and there to read and/or take pictures.

Stopped at the grocery store and walked home. Whew.. . . .that's a lot of walking actually but I've done a lot of that in Chicago anyway. Now it's lunch, laundry, read, write, and basketball. I'll get on boat stuff tomorrow big time! Only 4 working days left and I've not started either engine!

Yesterday I cleaned up the helm station. You know, you cover what you can on your boat to protect it from the elements but by doing so you just create a mildew hotel! Cleans up easily enough though with detergent and a sponge.
















The competed replacement regulator and solenoid for the propane locker. From know on there will be NO metal in this locker. Going with a 20 lb and a 10 lb fiber tank.

That's it from Grenada.

Go CUBS!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Day Another Puzzle

Today was to be engine day. Time to see if the iron genny will run again. I put the cover back on the pump. Did not change the impeller since it looked fine and besides, I can't figure out how to take it out anyway. Checked the fuel filter and changed it. If she runs I'll want to look at this filter right away and see what sort of crap is coming up out of the fuel tank. I checked the coolant and that is right at the top. I put a bucket of water for the pump to suck from and we're just about good to go. Give a little throttle as we usually do, turn the key. . . buzzer comes on. That's good. Press the button and . . .

nothing.

Well here we go then. This is something I'm used to (doesn't mean I like it). We have this problem on occasion and it's a whole chapter in my book (buy the book!). We suspect the starter relay and it certainly looks rusty and nasty like so many other components to the boat. So I trot on down to the NAPA at the Ace hardware. I show the guy the bad relay. He clearly had never seen one before and was sure they had nothing like that. OK. . . then he said wait a minute and went back to the shelves and came back with just the thing! I nice one too as it is in-cased in plastic instead of rust-able metal.

Back to the boat. Install the new relay. . . turn key. .. .press start. . .

nothing.

So. . . If I had another set of ears on board I would have that set listen for a clicking noise coming from the relay. If the relay is clicking but nothing is happening then you know the problem is on the secondary (starter) side. If it's not even clicking then the problem is on the primary (push button) side. I don't think it's due to a low battery. A low battery would at least give a groan and turn the engine a half a turn or so but that is certainly another concern.

Monday I'm going to borrow somebody with ears and listen for the click. I'm also going to try to borrow a fully charged battery and see if that makes a difference. I'm really sick of this problem and hope I can FINALLY solve it before I leave.

I also took off the helm cover and cleaned up all the mildew on that and our cockpit table. I think before I leave I'll put up the dodger and the big anchor shade we have to better protect the boat for the last two months of her stay in the yard.

I'm taking the rest of the day off - went to the store and scored some White Castle hamburgers! Wheee Hooo. I'm taking tomorrow off as well and working on school stuff so there is not so much to do on the weekend when I return.

Comments and suggestions certainly welcome as usual.

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Week In

It's Friday! I wonder if I'll get a day off tomorrow. . .doubt it.

More hard work today but coupled with some successes.

Just for the hell of it I turned on the relay for the propane. I should hear a characteristic click when this happens. Nothing. OK. Open the locker and what do I see. . . RUST. The whole solenoid/regulator assembly is just a pile of rust. So I take the ugly business off and put it in a bag and off to Island Water World. Once there I pull it out of the bag and Johnathon, the Brit who runs the place and knows simply everything about boats says, "God God"! I say, "I need a new one of these", and he says, "Well we don't have one just like that!
"No I don't want it just like this I want it like this but working"! He is a smart ass.

So I bought new regulator and relay. The relay is so that propane cannot come into the boat unless you switch it on. Safety device and an important one since propane is more dense than air. (See how I slip in some science when you're not expecting it? That's what I do.) Now it's fun with pipes, elbows and various parts that have to fit in the locker AND leave room for 2 - 20 pound propane tanks. This has always been a tight fit so instead of worrying about how to make it just barely fit I decide to just change our cruising motif to 1 20 lb tank and 1 10lb tank as the reserve. We'll use the 20 pound tank and then switch to the reserve knowing that it's time to buy propane and top off both tanks. I also want this 10 pound tank to be the new fiber kind like our 20lb tank. Our deck lockers are not dry. Not by a long shot and although they have drains there are two problems with that. One is that they drain forward and we are not always in trim for forward draining due to dingy and outboard on the stern. Two, the drain is raised up so that unless you tip the boat forward about 30 degrees not all the water is ever going to drain. This is killer for steel tanks with that steel rim at the bottom. That's dust on our steel tank. Dust. So maybe someone wants to buy that tank and paint her up but I'm done with steel propane tanks on this boat. OH, and this job? 100% done! Wired her up and heard the nice click!

Water tank job is 98% done. All hoses are connected and ready to go. have to still epoxy the elbow to the plate I made and I need a better plug for the old feed hole in the tank. Then I'll put the numerous screws back on the access plate. Much swearing there usually so new rule, Lucy the grand daughter can never come aboard when grandpa is working on the boat!

Speaking of screws. . . I've been all over looking for that 1/4" thread, 1/2", flat head, tapered, brass screw for the engine pump. No luck. I did find on board a replacement impeller with the proper paper gaskets so I'm ready to go if only I had one screw (don't go there!). Then, I'm finishing up with the water tank and looking through my machine screws for one more to hold down the plate with the elbow and what does my pointer finger find? Not one but TWO of the exact screws I've been shopping for! Wheeeeeeeee!!!! Life is so exciting. Lottery? Kids Play!

Tomorrow I'll try to extract the impeller...not sure how to get it out of there but have tools and a short fuse so that ought to do it! This means I could probably try to start the engine tomorrow too. I'd like to go back to Chicago having heard the diesel bang.

Now I will digress. . .

Recently I've been teaching high school physics at a private school. It's been a good gig but pretty different for a guy coming from 20+ years in the public school system. So lets go back to where I had no idea what to do because my water tank was leaking. I was stumped and I had to drop the tools and just think about it. That little experience made me think about a test one of my students turned in and on a problem he wrote, "We've never had a problem like this!". He had no work and no idea how to do it. He was upset. Now I'm thinking, the whole idea of problem solving is to exercise those brain muscles so that you CAN solve a problem you've never seen before otherwise what's the freaking point? Sure you've never seen it but it is ABOUT the stuff you've allegedly been learning. I mean, that's how we got to the moon, right. Or. . .

Hello Mr. Beige. I've read your resume and I see that you are very good at the odd numbered problems and have even had a go at the occasional even one. Good show! We have just the job for you. You'll get a nice tidy cubicle and in there you'll solve problems that are just like the ones you've already solved. We can't pay you much for this obviously but it should be enough for you to spend beyond you means, produce some nasty children who you will resent and they will return the favor, pay your mortgage, and die happy! Let's get started shall we!

Sailing is such a microcosm of what is right and wrong with the world. I know it's not a big deal that I used a part for what it was not intended to solve a problem but somehow that's everything too.

That's it from Grenada. All comments appreciated as usual.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zen and the Art of Water Tanks

To any who have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance you'll recognize this rap. To those who have not read it. . .

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? :) This book should be required reading for all teachers, sailors, and humans.

Anyway I had several goals today one of which was to check out the water system. We topped off both tanks (65 and 85 gallons) before we left. This to keep green type things from growing in there. Tried the pump to see if water would come out at the sink but nada. Pump is running but no water. This is not unusual and if you search the archives for 'pump' or 'drinking water' or 'suicide' you'll see what I mean.

So what seems to be the problem? Well, I tried various things to narrow it down all the way to a bucket of water with a hose to the pump and nothing on the output side. . .what's a bilge for anyway? OK, pump can pump water about 2 feet horizontally. Now we're getting some where. Watching the semi-see through (or do you see it as semi-opaque?) lines I notice air bubbles on the input side of the pump when trying to draw water from either tank. Hmmm....Well, maybe all the water went away. So I squirt several gallons of water into each tank. NO. I open kitchen and head faucets. NO.

Now I sit and stare at the forward tank. There is about 3 inches between it and the aft tank and in between I see water and a steady drip from the forward tank where the fitting is for water to head to the pump. OK, so this is where the pump is sucking air, right? This is bad then. I cannot get my hand between the two tanks and if I could what would I do? No way to tighten anything. My hand would be a hand sandwich!

Mommy! Shit! This tank is molded into the the boat and leaking where I have no hope of getting to.

Breathe. . .

Wait. . .I got it. What if I plug that pipe from the inside of the tank and then suck water from the top of the tank (like a straw) via a new line to the pump. The fact that the water has to go up to get out means nothing in the world of conservation of energy! YES! That's then how I spent the rest of my day (nearly). We now have a new access to this forward tank. In true sailor fashion I used what I had and modified it for my needs. This tank had a capacity meter on top that has never worked. So I drilled a hole in it for a two ended barb. Now a short piece of hose goes into the tank and a longer piece is fed to the pump. I've not sealed it all up yet because I don't have a good plug in the old feed. I need a nice rubber stopper for that. I think I'll leave this 90% completed (my favorite!) and bring rubber stoppers back with me in June.

On another note, our water tank once again has white rocky deposits in it. Sue cleaned all of this out some time ago but now it's back. I suspect some chemistry is happening due to water + bleach + aluminum tank. I've collected some deposits and plan to take them to the school chemist when I get back to Chicago. This is one of those annoying problems where you look in your water tank and go , "GOOD GOD! What's going on in there"? Then you realize that you have been living, drinking and cooking out of said tank for several years. So, I think the main annoyance of this distillate is that it gets caught in the screen up stream from the pump and has to be cleaned out occasionally. Nobody died yet!

So, what about Zen etc. There is a wonderful part in the book where the author is going to do some maintenance to his bike. Something major like grinding pistons or what ever. But to do so he has to take some trivial cover off and the last screw has stymied him. So his day is spent on that one screw instead of all the fancy maintenance he was going to do. So. . . can't get too mad. This is the hand you were dealt today. Got to just follow it and maybe you'll end up learning some screw removal skills that will be useful later.

I have pictures of plumbing supplies but they are WAY too cool to share here!